Tigers Have Rugged Time Beating Inspired Panthers
Trap Plays And Passes Worry Massillon Team, As Panthers Hit Peak
By LUTHER EMERY
The Washington high school football team struggled through a 35-19 victory over Warren Harding high before 10,000 fans in Warren Friday evening, and Coach Chuck Mather is wondering what has become of his defense.
The Panthers battled the Tigers on even terms the first half which ended 14-12 (Massillon having the two-point margin) and played toe to toe with the locals throughout much of the last two periods.
It was the second week in a row the Tigers had been called upon to face a team that had been keyed up to its highest pitch of the season, and whereas they lost their engagement with Mansfield 16-12 a week ago, they were equal to the occasion last night.
It was an offensive battle from start to finish with Warren scoring more points on the Tigers than it registered in its last five games combined and winning applause from the fans for its efforts. In fact many Warren folk considered the score a moral victory for Warren, though a 35-19 licking is still a bit on the decisive side.
The Tigers’ offense was for the most part, good enough. They gained 498 yards from scrimmage including 121 with the use of the forward pass, and yet Warren, through its own offensive ability was able to control the ball for long periods of the game.
Had the local team’s defense been on a par with its offense there’s no telling how many touchdowns the local backs would have poured over the Warren goal.
As it was, the Tigers were vulnerable to trap plays up the middle and to forward passes, Warren making 15 first downs, and completing 10 of 17 throws for 94 yards and two touchdowns. Ball carriers gained 225 yards which gave the Panthers a total of 319 yards gained. That’s too many for a good defense.
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THE TIGERS had worked considerably on defense too the past week which made the locals’ showing in that department all the more disappointing.
Of course the team’s two heaviest boys, Jim Reichenbach and Glenn Tunning were missing from the forward wall, and they are a couple of pretty hard obstacles for the opposition to move around. Reichenbach was used on a couple of offensive plays, long enough, unfortunately to get his injured ankle touched up a bit, while Tunning was sidelined for the entire game.
The Tiger offense even had difficulty getting going early in the ball game when Warren which had scouted the local team thoroughly, confronted it with what amounted to an eight-man line. Line backers were apt to jump into the five-man forward wall at any spot, throwing up an unorthodox defense when they did and when they didn’t they played off the hips of their buddies. They gambled that their eight forward men could stop the Tigers’ running attack and at the same time break through fast enough to smear Don James before he could get the ball away on pass plays.
It worked for awhile but eventually proved Warren’s undoing for the Tigers wised up to themselves, used a statue of liberty play to discourage the rushing tactics of the Panther ends and tossed some passes that found their mark for long gains. With a bit of the eager beaver taken out of Warren, the locals’ offense began to click and would have gained more points had the Massillon defense been able to stop Warren’s offense more consistently and get the ball for the Tiger backs to play with.
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IT WAS the kind of game that causes fans to fill stadiums during the fall and the Warren spectators in particular were delighted with the spirit of their team which they had seen go down to five previous consecutive defeats after winning its opening game from Collinwood by a point, 14-13.
Though last night’s loss was the sixth in a row for the Panthers their followers were not at all downhearted and along with their coach Chuck Riffle, declared it by far the best showing of the season.
And the Panthers’ play was good enough to make more than one Massillon fan tremble, though some how or other, even when leading by only two points, local spectators as a whole felt the Tigers were superior enough to come through in the second half.
Their feelings were justified for the Massillon gridders shoved over two quick touchdowns to ice the game.
Coach Chuck Mather gave Ray Lane and Don Studer a chance to work with the first offensive team at the start of the game, though Clarence Johnson and Don Slicker whom they succeeded, saw lots of action.
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EVEN though he did lose the ball twice on fumbles, Johnson also exhibited the kind of running he is capable of when he bulled and twisted his way to 78 yards and the Tigers’ last touchdown of the game.
Dick Jacobs scored three times for the local gridders and Irvin Crable once. Dick’s first was a 75-yard sprint for the opening points of the game, and he had one called back even earlier when he went 81 yards after catching a pass from Don James, only to step out of bounds on Warren’s 49-yard line. Crable also got away to one long run, a 50-yard jaunt in which he was tackled from behind on the one-yard line. It went for naught when Johnson lost the ball on a fumble on the next play.
It was evident from the start that the Tigers were not up against any easy mark, as Warren marched the kickoff back for two first downs before punting. On the locals’ first series of plays James tossed to Jacobs who went 81 yards for the distance but got a toe out of bounds on the Warren 49 as he did a tight-wire walk up the sideline.
Warren got the ball back by covering a Massillon fumble on the Tiger 47 and carried it to the 19-yard line where the locals took over on downs. Crable made six but James was thrown for an 11-yard loss trying to pass. It did not discourage him, however, for with the Warren ends crashing, he called for a statue to Jacobs which the latter took and went 75 yards for the first score. Jerry Krisher kicked the extra point as he did all five attempts last night.
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THE GAME changed to an offensive battle as the two teams marched three times to touchdowns on successive kickoffs.
Warren started the first drive after getting the kickoff on its 33. With Paul Smith and Lionel Reed making yardage on trap plays, Dennis Pardee reeled off a deep reverse that took Warren into Tiger territory. The Panthers continued to trap the locals with Smith eventually planting the ball on the 12. Two plays advanced it eight yards from where Reed circled his right end for the six points.
The Tigers roared back with the next kickoff from the 25. Johnson carrying the ball into Warren territory on his first run of the evening. He tried a long pass that was just settling into the finger tips of Don Slicker in the end zone, when the latter staggered and fell. It made no difference, however, for Crable took the ball to the 21 and Jacobs went around the right end for six points.
There were few minutes left when the Tigers kicked off, but enough for Warren to score a touchdown. Reed trapped his way to the 50 when Robison tossed to Smith for nine yards and the latter rammed through to a first on the 30. With seconds left, Robison fired the ball to Ed Zofko, who caught it just as the gun sounded, to bring the score to 14-12 at the half.
The Tigers started off in the third period as though they meant business when Crable broke through to the one-yard line, where Johnson lost the ball on a fumble. But this time the Massillon defense did not have any holes in it and Pardee was forced to punt, the ball rolling out on the Warren 24. It took two plays to get a touchdown, Crable going forward for 11 yards and Jacobs the rest of the distance.
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THE TIGERS covered a Warren fumble on the series that followed the kickoff, Jerry Krisher pouncing on the pigskin on his own 37. On the first play, Crable went to a first down on the Warren 27, Johnson moved it up to the 17 and Jacobs went around right end for the points.
That brought the score to 28-12 and there it stood until with three minutes of the game remaining, Robison fired a pass to Zofko for three yards and the Panthers’ third touchdown. It climaxed a 77-yard march featuring a 13-yard fourth-down screen pass that put the ball on the 20, and another 20-yarder, Robison to Paul Willoughby that put the leather on the five. John George, who had missed his two previous attempts for points, kicked this one to pull Warren within nine points of the Tigers, 28-19.
It didn’t take the locals long to get another of their own. On the second play after the kickoff Johnson on a reverse was turned loose around his left end for 78 yards. He did some good hard running and twisting to free himself and was accorded some good blocking. These were the final points of the game.
The Tigers blocked well last night. Once Ronald Patt knocked himself out and a Warren tackler with a pretty block that set Crable loose on his lone touchdown.
The Tiger tackling was as poor as the blocking was good. There were many good, hard socks, but too many tacklers slid off their opponents.
The lineup and summary:
ENDS – STUDER, GLEASON, Slicker.
TACKLES – KRISHER, SCHUMACHER, Duke, Gibson, Standford.
GUARDS – LAPS, SHINE, Reichenbach, Houston.
CENTERS – PATT, Vliet.
QUARTERBACK – JAMES.
HALFBACKS – LANE, JACOBS, Johnson, Waikem.
FULLBACKS – CRABLE, Russell, Grier.
ENDS – GLOVER, ZOFKO.
TACKLES – ZOBA, BOB JAMES, Hovance.
GUARDS – DE CAPITO, SMUKE, Swoke, Salvato, George.
CENTERS – BILL JAMES, Ylisela.
QUARTERBACK – ROBISON.
HALFBACKS – L. REED, PARDEE, Allard, Willoughby.
FULLBACKS – SMITH, Hooks.
Score by periods:
Massillon 7 7 14 7 35
Warren 0 12 0 7 19
Massillon – Jacobs 3; Johnson; Crable.
Warren – Reed; Zofko 2.
Points after touchdown:
Massillon – Krisher 5 (placekicks).
Warren – George (placekick).
Referee – Lobach.
Umpire – Gross.
Head Linesman – Sweeney.
Field Judge – Lindsay.